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HMRC dismiss NDO security worries

28 September 2009
Categories: News , NDO , Admin
'False declarations are highly unlikely'

HMRC have dismissed concerns about the level of security of the department’s latest tax ‘amnesty', saying that abuses of the scheme are 'highly unlikely'.

Law firm McGrigors had warned that the email notification system for the new disclosure opportunity (NDO), which launched at the beginning of September, lacks the basic safeguards needed to prevent potential abuse.

The firm, a tax investigations specialist, said that the email system has no safeguards prevent individuals maliciously impersonating other taxpayers: postal notifications require a name, address, National Insurance number and date of birth to be supplied, but the email registration system asks only for a name and address.

Without requesting an NI number, the taxman can not verify whether an online applicant is genuine, claimed McGrigors.

The Revenue responded by saying that some individuals who come forward during the NDO will never have registered for tax and will therefore lack references against which the taxman can verify their identity.

‘It is therefore an essential element of the facility that an absence of references is not a bar to registration,’ said a department spokesman.

He added: ‘We will vet declarations, and a malicious declaration would quickly be discovered. So, there would be no question of someone without offshore assets being pursued because of a false declaration. From our experience false declarations are highly unlikely.’

These remarks were in defence against the claim by McGrigors director of tax investigations Phil Berwick that ‘anyone with a personal grudge can now submit another individual’s name and address via the email registration process, flagging them up to HMRC as someone who has unpaid taxes.

‘The first that the victim may be aware that their name has been forwarded to HMRC is when they receive their disclosure reference number. Unless they contact HMRC at that stage and notify them of the error, [legitimate taxpayers] may find [themselves] the subject of [investigations],’ said Mr Berwick.

Categories: News , NDO , Admin
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